Maroondah is located in Victoria, 25 kilometres east of the Melbourne Central Business District. The City of Maroondah was created in December 1994, when the former cities of Ringwood and Croydon joined together. Maroondah is named after an aboriginal word meaning ‘leaf’, which symbolises Maroondah’s green environment.
The estimated population of Maroondah is 110,376, and 1.6% of this population are people from Burma. Maroondah has the second highest number of refugees from Burma settling in Victoria. Most of Maroondah’s settlers from Burma are ethnic Karen from the Thai border area, and Chin, from the area bordering Bangladesh and India. Many would have lived in refugee camps for 10 or more years before coming to Australia
Maroondah became a Refugee Welcome Zone in March 2013. The declaration was signed at the Harmony Day event held in Eastland shopping Mall on 23 March. Prior to this, the Mayor and Councillors invited leaders from refugee groups to an evening event to provide the opportunity for Councillors to understand, on a more personal level, the refugee story; and for the refugee leaders to share some of the issues they face.
Maroondah City Council is involved in various activities and events to assist refugee communities, including:
- Harmony Day and Refugee Week activities.
- A Government Uniforms and Emergency Services Expo run in partnership with various agencies.
- A cross-council culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) working group to ensure Council staff are working together to meet the needs of CALD communities.
- Maternal Child Health Nurses run regular information sessions for refugee parents on sourcing and cooking healthy food for their children.
- Maternal Child Health sessions for refugee families are run with interpreters two to three times a month.
- Catch up immunisation sessions are offered to refugee families.
- The publication of The Migrant and Refugee handbook – a directory of services available for refugee and migrants settling in Maroondah.
- Cultural awareness training is offered to Council staff.
- Involvement on Emergency Management committees to assist with engaging refugee communities.
- Council participate in various networks involving refugee health, refugee youth, employment and general settlement issues.